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So what’s your EDC?

A few weeks ago my husband said to me, “So have you ever heard of EDC?” I thought about that. The only thing that leapt to my mind went way back to being pregnant, when that stood for “Estimated Date of Confinement,” and referred to, you know, your due date. Somehow I didn’t think that was what he meant, though, so I said, “I’m not sure.”

“It stands for Everyday Carry,” he told me. “Check it out — there are forums and stuff, where people are talking at length about what they carry around every day.”

I thought about that for a minute. “You mean,” I said, “like my pocket stuff?”

“Yeah,” he replied. “And then there’s extended EDC — and that’s like your bag that you always take with you.”

“Huh,” I said, pondering this idea as a discussion topic. Now, don’t get me wrong: as a fiber geek, I frequent a range of forums and mailing lists and the like where people discuss exotic and obscure stuff in excruciating detail. So I’m definitely not down on the idea — it just hadn’t occurred to me that this was, you know, something people got into talking about. “So,” I asked, “what is there to say on the subject? I mean… what, like, this is what I have in my pockets and why?”

“Exactly,” he said. “Plus details about the stuff, and what you could do with it.”

“Huh,” I repeated, still thinking. I mean, I actually have a specific list of things I truly can’t cope with not having on my person, and I’ve been known to totally rant about it. I’m an extremely pocket-oriented person and I like my tools. I’ve come a long way and stripped down to a point where I actually carry a lot less stuff now than I used to. But still, there’s a core list of things I can’t cope with being without, and my wardrobe choices and lots of things about my lifestyle actually revolve around what I now was realizing was a concept people actually, er, have a name for. And forums about.

“In fact,” said my long-suffering better half, “people even make YouTube videos about their EDC.”

“What? Seriously?”

He showed me some. I felt torn. On the one hand, it seemed… strange. Self-important to think of making a video about the crap in your pockets. And voyeuristic to watch. But, you know… interesting. “You should do an EDC post on the blog,” Chad suggested, half-joking. O, the absurdity — after all, who’d want to know what’s in my pockets, or the bag that hangs by the door so I can grab it on the way out? And what’s next after you start telling people that, going into detail about the stuff that lives in your car? I mean, I’ve talked about the emergency knitting and spinning stuff. I’ve thought about blogging my packing process, and then concluded I just am not sure I want the world to know what my real life ratio of socks to spindles in my suitcase is.

But with a few weeks of consideration, I decided I really was going to do an EDC post. And this is it. And it even comes with YouTube videos. Seriously, I’ve emptied out my pockets and my little carry-around-town bag (it’s totally not a purse, I would never carry anything so girly as a purse!) and decided to share. Here you go. First, what’s in my pockets…

…and what’s in my carry-around-town bag.

I’d love to hear from all of you about your EDC. I wonder what we have in common and what we don’t? For example, most chicks would probably have makeup in their EDC. I do own makeup, but… it’s not an every day kinda thing for me. And some people are capable of feeling comfortable without a knife and fire, but I’m not — I don’t even really like going outside and walking around without those things. I started carrying a knife and fire of my very own when I was 8. Anyway, I’d love to hear what you carry! Tell me about it, blog about it, let’s go!

38 thoughts on “So what’s your EDC?

  1. I LOVED this post! How did you make the videos?
    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way…but I never realized there were straight butch girls in the world – and I totally mean that as a compliment!

  2. Well Abby, you got me thinking. What do I carry? It depends.

    If I’m just headed out on foot I’ll have probably only two things, my keys and my military ID. Keys for getting into the house and the ID in case I get stopped by a MA or decided to go on base. I usually am walking the dog so I keep it to the bare necessities.

    My second option is my ‘dog bag’ for longer walks with Carrie and trips to the dog park. This bag is a messenger style bag to make it easier to carry while being yanked around by the dog. It contains a book of Sudoku puzzles and a pencil (sometimes a novel), keys, Military ID (sometimes whole wallet,) cell phone, mp3 player, dog treats, a packet of tissues, and plastic bags.

    Other option is my purse. It contains a packet of tissues, my wallet, cell phone, keys, memory cards (even though I don’t take my camera with me everywhere like I used to), travel size lotion, a travel mirror I never use and chapstick (3 at last count) that I never use.

    If you can’t tell my must haves are my cell, keys, and wallet (or ID). If I’m going somewhere where I will have to wait these get thrown either into my spindle bag or my knitting bag. Those of which carry the standard items.

  3. Abby, every time I think you’ve gone all crafty and fruity on me, you bring it right back. I love the barber-freebie comb. If I tried to use that on my hair I would have to be shorn to get it out, and my hair is now, oh, eight inches long.

    I admit that after years of being a pocket person, I’ve been trying to train myself to use a purse. Thus far I have not been successful, mostly because I have a fear of leaving the stupid thing behind somewhere (not unheard-of).

    On the other hand, it is sometimes inconvenient to have all that crap in my pockets (I am still evaluating whether I wish to reveal what I carry around to the world, but suffice it to say that “all that crap” says everything). It knocks around and gets oddly mushed when I do things like hoist a 5-gal bucket of drywall mud onto my hip. And when we change from jacket season to no-jacket season, I lose a lot of storage space for things like my notebook, which would be handy to have with me in case of sudden inspiration.

    This would be, of course, separate from my everyday bag, which used to be my knapsack and is now a messenger bag. And my knitting/project bag, which is basically to protect yarn from the velcro fasteners of said bag. And so the purse thing should fit into the everyday bag, because I don’t want to carry a bag and purse (so dorky). But of course I have a lot of other crap in that everyday bag. Anyway, you can see the troubles I have.

  4. What, no tapestry needles?

    I have a small wallet-on-a-string purse thingy that has normal wallet things like cards, cash, but also tapestry needles. I can put my keys and cell phone in it, though the phone is more often in my pocket. There’s a small flashlight on my keychain. I might need to get one of those two-can knives.

    My grab-and-go knitting bag is a Tom Binh “stuff sack” and usually has a couple of maxipads, nail clippers, a needle case, lip balm (also usually have some in a jacket pocket), a small graph paper pad, pen and pencil, stitch markers, a USB drive nearly identical to yours, and the current carry-around project or two (often socks, currently a toddler sweater in sock yarn). Hanging off of it is a “socks rule” set, which is a needle gauge for 1.5mm – 3mm and a 2″ ruler with centimeters too. Often a crochet hook and tape measure, but not always.

  5. I’ve always been a sucker for extended dance remixes. After seeing yours, I realize that I’m woefully unprepared for a zombie apocalypse.

    Not being a pocket person, I carry everything in a stylish purse that may or may not match my outfit of the day. With a small purse, “everything” consists of wallet, keys, phone, earplugs (never know when you’re going to come across very LOUD live music), mini hairbrush, lip balm, lipstick, and some small piece of candy. In a bigger purse, I’ll also have my GPS, face powder, hand lotion, and a pen if I’m lucky. There’s usually a solid perfume kicking around in there somewhere, but it’s not one of those things that I insist on carrying with me.

  6. I am of the totally practical kind, it seems 🙂

    I just grab keys and cell phone (for minor and major emergencies) and moneybag when I leave home.

    If I take a bag with me, it’s stocked with fire, lip balm, a ball-pen and some pieces of paper to take notes – I throw in the moneybag, cell and that’s it.
    If I’ll be away for more than, say, 15 minutes, there’s a spindle and some fiber or some sock knitting in there, too.

  7. Blogged mine here. I carry more junk around than I thought! But it’s all so useful. I could not live without the Photon II microlight though.

  8. WOOHOO! Another woman with a creased out old ass wallet. Abby, you are a woman after my own heart. I’m tempted to do a photo version of this myself now, but it would be less interesting since I don’t carry a knife. Though, honestly, I’m not sure why I don’t, and I’m sure my husband is surprised I don’t either. (long story)

  9. I love seeing what other people carry around on a regular basis. You remind me that I stopped taking a lighter with me in the late 80s. I never used it except for helping my friends out who all smoked (I didn’t, and still don’t). I got tired of buying one lighter after the other…

    I did a blog post on what I carry around (in my purse, I don’t leave the house without it):

    It’s contents are still the same.

  10. I am one who is compelled to carry too much…everything I own it seems. I tell everyone my car is an extension of my pocketbook. I sometimes hesitate at the front door on the way out to work (what do I mean sometimes?) to mentally assess my EDC – do I have everything I need? I attribute this quirkiness to my years of raising kids during which time I told everyone my new motto was going to be Travel Light (?). I actually carry 1 purse (normal purse stuff) 1 knitting bag (2 or three projects that I rarely have time to work on at work) and 1 LLBean Boat bag (Books I am reading, work papers, bills to pay, lunch & anything else that does not fit in the category of the other two). I think I carry everything for the day that I get in the car and just keep on driving. That’s a sometime fantasy. This is my physical EDC. Please do not even get into the mental EDC. : )

  11. Abby-you seem to be prepared for anything, I want to be your friend.

    My EDC is so uninteresting, to go to the store I have a wallet, keys and cell phone. Going to work add in my current small knitting project and my filofax planner. My work bag also has my pocket utility knife, a small gerber tool.

  12. Oh dear, now you have me thinking here.
    I have my purse – which has 3 small business card cases. One carries normal wallet stuff, one insurance stuff, and one pictures and business cards. Some lip balm/lipstick, checkbook, cash, & pen.
    My project bag – 2 knitting projects in zip top bags, one spinning project (also in zip top bag,, a small accessory bag with scissors, tapestry needles, reg sewing needles, stitch markers, stitch holders, tape measure, nail file, highlighter tape, row counters, needle sizer, Crochet hooks, bead needles, tylenol, cable needles, small notebooks, pen. Denise needle case (hopefully with the extra cables and such, but not always) and camera.
    Cell phone resides in my pocket, or purse.
    The vehicle carries a sock in progress bag, with a tape measure and small notebook, hair brush, TUMS, and hair tie.

    After watching your videos I am thinking I need to add a few things.

  13. These are a some of my must-have EDC’s. Close to home – Pocket packs of Kleenex, Handi-wipes, Lacteeze Pills (Just in case I stop in for a snack), wallet, cell phone, keys, I have a flashlight on my keychain, emery board, pen, note book, bank book, and if I’m going a little farther from home I add in my trusty Swiss Army Knife. I carry my things in a back-bag which also has room for a folding shopping bag and a small project which is usually socks I am knitting. There are always socks!
    Enjoyed this post – its a fun topic. And yes I do see some similarities in what fibre folks carry.

  14. in pockets
    wallet- with cash and various cards, change pocket – mini swiss army that has scissors, front pocket – watch, back pocket – spare car door key (my car locks when you turn it on, my husband has locked himself out several times – also useful for opening the trunk) and a couple band-aids. Sometime will have lip balm or solid hand lotion, pacifer for child, small toy, child necklace, change, hair elastics, glasses cleaning cloth…

    I also carry a bag not a purse although I do one for formal type occasions. Bag is not taken everywhere but just about. Usually has small notepad, nice writing pen, pencil for marking patterns, pattern, yarn, needles in ziploc. sometimes a mint tin holding coil-less safety pins, small coil of waxless dental floss, tape measure, tapestry needles. PDA with hair elastic around it. solid hand lotion from heal my hands in cinnamon spice, mint lip balm from burts bees. Sometimes headphones as PDA can double as an MP3 player for podcasts. Tissues and throat lozenges in cold season. Also pin a couple extra safety pins and hair elastics directly to the bag.

    I used to carry a lighter. Boyfriend introduced me to smoking much later. quit smoking (and that boyfriend) and then sometime later stopped carrying lighter. Think I need to find a couple that are kicking around the house and start carrying them again.

    All pocket stuff gets transfered to bag if for some reason don’t have pockets or can’t have them stuffed.

  15. ….. how are we friends? We are so different. I only wear skirts and dresses. You hardly ever. I carry purses (many kinds in fact). You hardly ever. I’m no geek, you totally are.
    We do both carry knitting/spinning stuff, and haven’t cut our long blond (dirty blond) hair for years. We both like to cuss and drink and carry on. Maybe we aren’t so different after all. But I’ll never buy you a purse though, promise.

  16. In my purse, no matter what else there is, I always carry my Leatherman tool with its many functions (present from hubby)which I seem to need on a regular basis, and a small screwdriver set with multiple bits,also used regularly. Also a collapsible drinking cup. I probably should add a lighter! If I could find one small enough, I would carry a water purifier. I wish I had room for duct tape and WD-40, the two other items indispensable to life!

  17. I am STILL not coping well with TSA regulations. I *cannot* remember to leave my Swiss Army knife at home (or put it in check-through; I usually travel without check-through).

    For a while, I carried a small padded mailer with stamps so I could get the knife back when I got home.

    Now I don’t carry my multi-purpose tool at all. The pain of losing it was too much (plus the pain of having to constantly replace it).

  18. Hmm.
    My pockets always have change, and a couple of polished rocks in them. Sometimes, they have a credit card and/or cash. Sometimes they don’t.
    I *never* leave without a small bag in which I have a credit card, some cash, and a small knitting project (sometimes even charts for it). It sometimes has a lip balm (usually Burts Bees, sometimes one with color).

  19. I put a list up on Ravelry, so I won’t repeat it here. I’m struck by how many people who follow Her Abbyness use Burt’s Bees lip balm. I think it was the object (other than knitting/spinning related items and things like wallets and phones) that was mentioned most often. While some people are clearly more organized than others, or have pared down to fewer items, it seems like a very down-to-earth bunch of folks. And it’s interesting what the things we carry everyday reveal about us, which of course is the whole point of the exercise. It certainly made me want to review my EDC and try to reorganize it!

  20. I stopped carrying a purse years ago after twice in one week I set it down in a store to look at something and then walked away. I now carry only a wallet and my phone. I travel pretty light when I’m local. I’m starting to realize, however, that often when I’m out, I’ll get an idea or a thought that I’d like to write down and wouldn’t it be handy to have a journal with me. So now I’m on the lookout for some kind of bag that I’ll grab when I walk out the door. This will likely be filled with a journal, pens, double stick tape, small scissors, a little note pad and my 2G thumb drive.

  21. The absolutely won’t go anywhere without it list is short. Keys and lip balm. Preferably home made peppermint lip balm, but anything will do in a pinch.
    My purse list is a little longer:
    Sock project, wallet, phone, measuring tape, little screwdriver, yarn needle, mace, pen and pencil, ibuprofen, and allergy meds.

  22. Interesting…I’ll see if I can get SB to video my EDC contents w/narrative. Thanks for the thoughts on the LG, I’m up for my new-every-two and trying to decide what phone to get, or if I even want to. The qwerty keyboard is enticing.

  23. I am such a voyeur. I loved the annotations! Amazing how different everyone’s EDC is.

  24. Abby, is your cat a Burmese? The one in the box on Beth’s blog? He’s beautiful! His picture is currently gracing my desktop on my work computer.

  25. Argh! Flashbacks from your Swiss army knife – I bought the same one in 1992 in Singapore on my round-the-world trip – the little screwdriver for glasses was the selling point! I lost it a few years ago and I’m stilln soooooo sad 🙁

    What? No keys?

  26. EDC: tiny wallet (it can fit in my back pocket if necessary), small leather covered notebook with pen, measuring tape, glasses, knife and penlight, phone, thumb drive. After almost losing the Swiss Army knife that I’ve had for a zillion years to the airport sting operation (it was in my purse, but they didn’t find it!!), I now carry a different purse when I’m traveling — this forces me to move the items I need into the travel purse so I make sure I don’t take un-flyable objects with me.

  27. OK, can you tell I’m procrastinating?

    Keys, hair elastic, sunglasses & regular glasses, chapstick, cash wallet & separate plastics wallet (I separated them after getting everything stolen once; one has credit cards & ID, the other debit cards, cash, & various punch & business cards, cell.

    Extended: change purse, knitting or spinning project, powder & lipstick, 2 USB drives, hairbrush, PDA (often dead), checkbook, water bottle.

  28. I am thinking of taking your class at Sock Summit, and frankly, the fire thing scared me a bit until you explained it! 😉

    Daily – I carry a huge purse, but I try to keep it to a Cell, wallet, glasses, keys, thumb drive, checkbook, kleenex, contact case, headphones, knitting project, book, first aid kit, pen, and lip balm of some sort.

  29. My husband found your website and put it in our favorites. Your video was a crack up. He watched the video and told me I needed to watch because we have the same things in our bags/pockets. I too am never without a knife or lighter. Although I have to say I tend to carry more than one lighter and they are a bit more flambouyent. My favorite lighter is a pokerchip, I also have a tractor and a shot gun shell lighters. I carry a leatherman my brother gave to me many birthdays ago. I carry my knitting bag everywhere, am in a panic without it. I have more than one you know for emergency and then the basic that has all essentials.
    Love your website

  30. After reading this blog entry (not being able to see the vidio as I am on dial up) it took me three days to realize the “fire” was a lighter and not flint and steel. I am not sure if that says more about you being known as a capable person or me being an antique dealer. Fun blog entry even without the vidios.

  31. As someone who studies material culture for a living, I am completely fascinated by this need to catalogue and share personal objects with others. I LOVE IT. Thank you so much for introducing me to this fabulous slice of webculture. Just to complete the process, I’ll add my list to the group. I never ever have anything in my pockets. I loathe objects in my pockets and often will refuse to purchase pants simply because they have pockets. So everything I carry is either clipped to my jacket (work id with keys to office and jump drive attached) or in my purse. Purse is enormous and varied according to outfit and/or whim. Which means I’m usually throwing necessaries from one to the other as I rush out the door. The bare necessities are:
    wallet ($0.99 plastic job at target) with debit card, id, student id, library card, credit cards, health card and LYS frequent shopper card
    keys, cell, knitting project and pattern, current editing project, current reading, pad, 2 pencils, 1 pen, mints, feminine supplies.
    Add-ons in briefcase include additional reading, lunch, library books, coffee, camera, lap-top, powercord, ipod, usb cable

    I do not and never have traveled light. My boss told me the other day that she hoped I had half my home in my bag in order to justify its size.

  32. OMG! I will be looking in my bags tonight and report back.

    Purses are a necessary evil.

  33. Unfortunately my work clothes often have no pockets, so my purse is my essential EDC:

    cell phone, Palm PDA (can’t afford an iPhone yet), small Canon digital camera, at least one USB drive, pain meds, lip balm (also in knitting bag, my coat, my husband’s coat…), coupons I never use before they expire, receipts I haven’t thrown in my inbox yet, matchbook nail file from Target, a lipstick or two, tiny tube of hand lotion, nail clippers, small pink Swiss Army knife with scissors and tweezer (mine has seen a lot of use).

    When my hair was longer, I’d have elastics and probably a plastic hair clip or metal barrettes. Usually I have a purse sock stuck in there, but I just finished a pair and need to start another simple one.

    The one thing that’s non-negotiable: my wallet with insurance card. The one time last year I didn’t have it I fell and broke my arm in six places. Eventually all the paperwork got straightened out, but I really didn’t need the hassle while recovering from surgery.

    I don’t carry fire, but I might change my mind after seeing your video. I want one of those survivalist Altoids tins, too.

  34. Very interesting post. It’s always interesting to see what folks carry with them.

    My “girly bag” has been pared down to what I feel are absolutely necessary: wallet with ID, insurance info, cards, checkbook, pen, postage stamps; PDA; cellphone; prescription sunglasses; biz card case w/fiber and office cards; office ID badge.

    The project bag alsays has my tool bag, which is a heavy duty pencil bag. It has: tape measure; scissors; darning needles; needle gauge; note pad; pen; pencil; crochet hooks of varying sizes; cable needles; stitch markers both ring and safety pin. For spinning I add my tool bag with oil, extra orifice hook, bobbins, and a ball of hemp/silk for leader line.

  35. Pockets- Bank Card, Coffee Card, Money (paper), change, bobby pin and lighter.

    Knitting bag/purse- It is a knitting bag but I put my camera, cell phone, yarn Needles, pattern,moo cards and one of those little prunes in bag things.

  36. The fire just stunned me….I have been a practical sort. Always carries a swiss army knife. When I traveled on the LIRR to Manhattan daily I carried things like bungee cords to hold the train doors open when the AC died. The conductors would come by to borrow them, playing cards, a flashlight, wipes …but fire…how basic to human existance…and totally taken for granted by us non-smokers! Need to buy a bic!

  37. Interesting blog! Keys and wallet, that is all.

  38. I’m sitting here laughing, having belatedly read this post. Even having been a knife carrying woman for years, I’m absolutely in NEED of one of the Kershaw “two can” jobs. I may have to rethink my emergency bag now – yours is inspiring.

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